The old Medina of Tetouan is a place where people live and work — you won’t find many souvenir shops here. But if you want to experience life in a Moroccan medina with few tourists where you can explore without being bombarded by “come have a look!” then Tetouan is well worth a visit, either as a long day trip or an overnight. With just 24 hours you can get a good sense of Tetouan’s flavor. (more…)
So, you’re in Essaouira for a few days. You’re adventurous and your taste buds are tired of the mostly similar Moroccan fare you’ve eaten so far in Casablanca, Fez and even Marrakesh. You might be with a group and have the afternoon to yourself or perhaps traveling alone or with your partner. Any way you slice it, by the time you get to the beautiful Moroccan coastal town of Essaouira, you’re likely going to be craving something a bit different than the Moroccan fare you’ve been treated to thus far, though you’ll want to search out for something authentic at the same time. Today, I’m letting my secret out of the places I love to dine at while traveling Morocco and telling you all about my secret eateries of Essaouira. (more…)
With its white walls and bright, broad main streets, its relaxed and friendly inhabitants, and its vibrant arts and music scene, Essaouira is my favorite city in Morocco. It has world-class kite-surfing, a beautiful beach and two major music festivals every year. Its atmosphere is unique for Morocco — a splendid mix of new and old, hippy and affluent — and it’s well-developed for tourism. (more…)
In Essaouira, there is a cooking class unlike any other in Morocco. Khadija’s Kuzina, located just outside the medina, is an experience that is so much more than just learning something about cooking Moroccan cuisine. It’s a visit into the hearts of the proprietors, Lahoussaine (a.k.a. “Hussein”) El Faded and Khadija El Jadiri, and an intimate preparation of dinner in their home rather than in a commercial kitchen. (more…)
The obvious question when you first get to Chefchaouen is: “Why is it blue?” Many reasons are offered and most are myths. Some of the myths include: the color repels mosquitos; it reminded the original (non-existent) ex-sailor residents of their seafairing past; it’s a reminder to remember heaven. (more…)
Morocco is probably one of the most kid-friendly countries I have ever travelled. As soon as I started taking trains, buses, taxis and visiting the souks with my kid, an entirely different country opened up before my eyes. My wife is from Tangier so now, even if we live in Paris, we are in Morocco 3-4 times a year to travel and visit her family. I hate to stereotype, but it really does seem to me that most Moroccans have an extra warm, fuzzy, soft spot in their heart for children. If you spend anytime with a Moroccan family, you can see how this might be. At home, the kids really do rule the roost. Read on for some great tips and insider notes as we bring you our Parent’s Guide to Morocco. (more…)
If you are heading to Tangier anytime soon, do yourself a huge favor and pick up Tangier: A Literary Guide for Travellers . Sometimes fantastic, often incredible, other times unbelievable – this deftly researched love-letter to one of the world’s most storied cities unearths the stories of the writers and artists who have called Tangier home or passed through here on adventures of their own. These stories are deftly woven together, creating a fabric of a place, one that you can carry with you on your travels. (more…)
At first glance, one might mistake the misty, rolling hills outside of Asilah for the rugged highlands of Scotland. On a rainy, blustery winter’s day — where the only thing standing in your way is perhaps a massive muddy puddle or an enormous bull that looks a bit like a shaggy Shetland cattle — it’s easy to see why you might confuse the two beautiful landscapes. It’s even easier to see why you might confuse them when Karim Ben Ali, a Scottish-Moroccan, begins talking to you with his soft Scottish lilt. (more…)
It’s a typical Thursday morning on Rue des Consuls, the main road of the Rabat medina. The souvenir market section of this medieval, walled area is only a tiny sliver of the old medina. It’s also an easy and stress-free introduction to shopping and sight-seeing in Morocco. (more…)
Moroccan sweets and cookies are a bit like the secret underdog of the patisserie world. They look quite unassuming and even a bit dull at first glance. However, all bets are off when you take a bite of their heavenly deliciousness. (more…)
The prickly pear is a fruit Moroccans love to eat and love to hate! It’s name is justly named for its spiky outer shell and the fact that it is the fruit of the cacti plant. If you look out the window during your Moroccan road trip, you will notice an impressive number of these prickly pear cacti pretty much everywhere! (more…)
My girls emphatically insist on seeing gaudy, kilowatt-sucking, elaborate red-and-white, Rudolph, Frosty and Santa-inspired holiday decorations at the same time as anyone else in the United States — the day after Halloween. It doesn’t matter that they have never lived in the US. And it doesn’t matter that Halloween hasn’t exactly a been “traditional” holiday anywhere we have lived, whether that was in Central or West Africa or, these days, Morocco. (more…)
Nothing beats a slice of fresh-baked bread, warm out of the oven, slathered with butter and 100% pure honey, paired with a steaming cup of fresh mint tea for breakfast. Lucky for you, in Morocco this is an every-day sort of thing! In fact, not only will you find fresh-baked bread for breakfast, it will be on the table for lunch and dinner and pretty much every snack in between. Bread is such an important staple of the Moroccan diet that its production is subsidized by the government, ensuring that nearly everyone has access to delicious, mouth-watering khobz. (more…)
Today, Journey Beyond Travel is taking you off the beaten track to discover beautiful landscapes and incredible areas for a honeymoon that won’t be easily forgotten (more…)
Wander into the Khemisset Carpet Market, held on Tuesday every week around the year, and you magically travel back a few centuries. One traveller described it as feeling “like she was in the Middle Ages.” I tend to agree. Many locals still use horse-drawn carriages, donkeys and mules to get around and transport goods, lending a real 15th century feel to the place. (more…)
Morocco has been lucky enough to be blessed with a variety of different landscapes, including some wonderful mountain ranges. From the Rif to the High Atlas, you can enjoy various activities and take in some picturesque scenery, even if mountain hiking isn’t your thing. Though be ready to strap on your most comfy shoes, because there will be a lot of walking! (more…)
I stroll into the Khemisset Carpet Market (souk, in the local lingo) just after 7 am on a quiet Tuesday. The sun has just peaked over the horizon. The rustic, fading structure where the carpet market is held is barely awake. Vendors shuffle quietly in and out with their wares. Delivery carts wobble precariously up and down the aisles, their owners dropping off heavy carpets as they prepare for the busy day ahead. (more…)
When you think of a Moroccan wedding, you might imagine loads of colors, a vast variety of foods and endless ululations. All of which will happen, but there’s so much more to a wedding in Morocco! (more…)
Black soap (or sabon bildi) is essential to the Moroccan hammam (or spa). Rarely do you use black soap outside of the hammam. In fact, a trip to the hammam without black soap would be considered a waste of hot steam and marble tile! (more…)
When I became a vegetarian a few years ago, I thought it would be a breeze. After all, I live in Morocco. The fruits and vegetables are relatively cheap here and the cuisine is known for its rich, flavorful spices. However, the truth is that finding my food comfort zone (if there is such a thing) took a little more time, and a little more exploration, than I bargained for. (more…)
One of the most valid proofs of a successful visit to Morocco is a picture of you with one of the snakes of Marrakesh slithering over your shoulders. But what if thinking about being near a snake sends a chill shuddering down your spine? You still want to see all the wonders the Red City has to offer, but you hate snakes. It’s quite a dilemma. It makes you wonder: How can I enjoy Marrakesh when I’m afraid of snakes? (more…)
Zagora is a common pitstop on the way to the Sahara Desert. It is the last big town you’ll hit on your way to Erg Chigaga, one of the two major dunes in the Moroccan desert.
Although most travellers won’t spend more than a night in the Zagora oasis, it’s a destination in its own right! With few signs of modernization, it’s a great place to experience traditional Moroccan life in outstanding scenery among some incredibly unique sites.
There is a lot you can read about Morocco, though not a lot is written by Moroccan writers. Unfortunately, what books that are available are not immediately available in English. Few Moroccan authors write in English. Most prefer either Arabic or French. Because of this, we monolingual readers have to wait until their words find a translator. Fortunately, some really great works by Moroccan writers have found translators and are readily available! (more…)
Before you board that plane for Morocco, remember to pack a book or a dozen. Not just for yourself, but for the Morocco Library Project! (more…)
The long dusty road leading to Tamegroute takes me back in time. The family-run pottery workshops in the oasis, not far from the Sahara desert, are among the oldest in the country. Dating back to the mid-1600s, they remain virtually unchanged. Artisans still work with manual pottery wheels in a building made from the same clay used to make pots and tiles. Finished pieces are fired in multi-chambered wood stoves. (more…)
I’m on an early morning bus from Zagora to Tata and into the Sahara. My eyes are half open. The other-worldy landscape flashes by. The barren, rocky vistas between towns is fitting. After all, I’m in the heart of meteorite country, on my way to find out about meteorites in Morocco. (more…)
This past year, Morocco has made headlines for its scientific discoveries and innovations – some of which have been game-changing. If you’re in the country, you can visit the locations linked with these finds. Here are our top five scientific discoveries in Morocco.
On our first afternoon in the Tangier medina, a soft-spoken old man invited my wife and me to step inside his carpet shop to “have a look.” When we showed interest in a small piece, he suddenly vanished, replaced by The Closer – the rabidly aggressive owner of the store. After being cajoled, pressured, and begged for far too long, we finally stumbled out, exhausted. Undeterred, we continued our walk, dodging one shopkeeper after another, each shouting: “English? Espanol? Just have a look!” This was going to be one long week in Tangier! (more…)
By far, Eid al-Adha is the most important holiday for Muslims around the world. It occurs two lunar months after the end of Ramadan. Confusingly, Eid al-Adha called by many different names. Eid el-Kbir (often spelled “Eid el-Kbeer, “Aid al-Kébir” and other variations) is really common. It translates to “The Big Holiday”. With francophiles, la fête du mouton (“sheep festival”) is also common. (more…)
As the largest, and one of the driest, deserts on Earth, it’s safe to say there are very few places in the world like the Sahara Desert. The infinite sea of sandy dunes all in different shades of gold is the perfect setting to experience a once-in-a-lifetime getaway filled with adventure, fun, and unique experiences.